In its first practice of the 2019-20 season, the Liberty men's basketball team brought the energy as they continue to live out of the four pillars head coach Ritchie McKay and the coaching staff have built the program on: Play Hard, Play Smart, Play Together and Play with Purpose.
"The first practice was good," McKay said. "Our guys have really owned that pursuit of improvement, so I am really pleased with what we saw today. It was very competitive out there."
A lot of familiar faces were on the court as the Flames return eight letter winners and four starters including 2018-19 First Team All-ASUN selections in Caleb Homesley and Scottie James. This veteran group also welcomes four newcomers to the squad in Marten Maide, Colton Reed, Shiloh Robinson and Kyle Rode.
The Flames are coming off an appearance in the NCAA Tournament and a school-record 29-win season but this year's squad is out to earn everything.
"Last year was great for our program but that doesn't guarantee us anything this year," redshirt senior Myo Baxter-Bell said. "In the five years I have been here we have laid down a solid foundation for this program and our goal is to add layers and get better every day."
McKay has a solid group of seniors in Baxter-Bell, Homesley, James and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz that continue to lead the way and display what it means to live out of the four pillars of the program.
"I think all of our guys own our expectations," McKay added. "I know there are exterior expectations from the perimeter but I think our group internally has built a habit where our intention is trying to pursue instead of perform. When you have that level of commitment you remember the John Dawson's, the Ryan Kemrite's, the Anthony Fields', and the Keenan Gumbs'. Those guys have set a standard of how you work and how you own it and our older players have followed up with the same disposition."
All practices lead up to Nov. 8 when the Flames tip off their 2019-20 season starting at home against Radford. Season tickets are available for purchase and can be found here.
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